Rumors of foldable phones had been circling the web for years, but in 2019 we finally got to see first-hand what they’re like. One of the companies that got everyone talking was Royole, a small China-based company that beat the likes of Samsung and Huawei with their launch of the world’s first foldable phone; the Royole Flex Pai.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold launched a little while after and was a much more viable product for consumers. It was followed by Huawei’s Mate X less than one week later. They both came with an especially high price tag though. The Samsung launched at a starting price of $1,980 and the Huawei at a whopping $2,600.
So here we are a year later. Samsung just released their Galaxy Z Flip this Valentine’s Day along with the S20, and the prices are a lot cheaper than they were just 12 months ago, with the Z Flip’s price starting at $1,380. So what kind of tech can we expect to see for this price? Let’s take a look.
Foldable Glass Screen
There is some controversy around Samsung’s foldable “glass” screen. The new Z Flip does have glass, but really, it’s a super-thin layer which is then coated with plastic. In these early days of foldable phones, manufacturers are struggling to find a way to create a fully glass foldable screen which has some critics questioning their durability – especially when you’re forking over $1,300 for a piece of tech. Nevertheless, they have still made improvements compared to their predecessor.
As you’re paying top dollar for a foldable phone, you’d expect to be getting some solid features from it beyond the fact that you can fold it in half. One of the most important features has to be the camera quality.
The Huawei Mate X boasts an impressive Leica quad-camera system featuring a 40MP wide-angle lens, a 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and an 8MP telephoto option. It provides similar camera quality to that offered by the likes of the OnePlus 7 Pro.
The Z Flip on the other hand is good but does have room for improvement in the camera department. It features 2x 12MP cameras (one ultra-wide and one wide-angle lens with a high aperture of f1.8 to f2.2). Compare these, however, to the specs on the S20 which will have 8k video shooting capabilities, space zoom, and a 108MP wide-angle camera, and you’re probably going to feel a tad disappointed with your Z Flip camera.
Motorola’s Razr option just doesn’t quite seem to compare with the Huawei either, though it has a more than adequate 16MP f1.7 offering with CCT and dual pixel autofocus.
Other Tech Specs
Both the Z flip and the Huawei Mate X have 8GB of RAM, 256GB of internal storage, are 5G enabled, and have a full HD display. The Motorola Razr 2019, however, is a little less powerful in terms of both performance and storage.
We’re still in the infancy of foldable phone technology and there is a lot to learn if phone companies want to make this concept work. Currently, they do seem to be presented with a lot of obstacles post-release, including screen peeling and lack of durability. We can expect more durable options to come out in the near future.
And what about Apple? There’s been no official statement about an Apple foldable phone just yet but the rumor mill is pointing to a launch in 2021. With Apple’s ‘late but great’ approach, the only thing that’s certain is that we’ll have to wait a while.